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Lesson Learned

Reefing the Main For Racing

The boats are rigged adequately for reefing while day sailing.  However with some extra work we can do a better job for racing where it is important to control sail shape.

Reefing the Main Tack

Tie the reefing cringle to the mast with some extra line.  Then use the Cunningham to pull the luff of the sail tight.  There is a horn for the cringle on the boom but it is hard to adjust the luff tension using just the main halyard.

Be careful  NOT to tie the other halyards inside the line as I have done.


Reefing the Main Clew

Tie the reefing cringle with some extra line around the boom loosely.  Now the regular reefing line becomes an outhaul and the foot of he reefed main can be drawn tight.

Be careful NOT to allow any loose ends.  These can and will foul free movement of the main sheet.

In strong winds nothing beats a heavy crew.  If you don't have a heavy crew you can use these techniques to control the boat and maintain sail shape.  It is my opinion that sailing windward with a well reefed main sheet is faster then continuously flogging the main sail with the traveler fully to the lee.  Furthermore the boat is more under control.

Down wind will be slower.  However, the sailing distance upwind is about 40% longer than the downwind sailing distance. The gain in downwind performance is likely to be less than the gain in upwind performance.

Obviously these trade offs depend on the your actual circumstances.

Written by John Clark.  Any comments? Send me an email

Lessons Learned

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Mailing Address: 58 Batterymarch Street #211 Boston MA 02110-3207
Sailing operations: The Private Marina at Rowes Wharf
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